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The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 Wednesday that a school district in Pennsylvania violated the First Amendment by punishing a cheerleader who used expletives in a Snapchat post sent while off campus.

Why it matters: The case pushed the boundaries of students' First Amendment rights and what schools can enforce outside school grounds, especially in the digital age.

Driving the news: The Court held that, "while public schools may have a special interest in regulating some off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the school are not sufficient to overcome [the student’s] interest in free expression in this case."

  • The ruling was written by Justice Stephen Breyer and only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.

Catch up quick: When Brandi Levy, a Pennsylvania freshman, did not make the varsity cheerleading squad for her high school, she posted a vulgar message on Snapchat saying, "F school, F cheer, F softball, F everything,'" per ABC News.

  • The school caught wind of Levy's message and suspended her from the team for a year, saying the punishment was necessary to "avoid chaos" and ensure a "teamlike environment," per The New York Times.

Flashback: In the landmark First Amendment case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District in 1969, the Supreme Court allowed students protesting the Vietnam War to wear black armbands, saying the students did not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” per the New York Times.

  • The Supreme Court has limited students' First Amendment rights on school grounds since Tinker v. Des Moines, per NYT.

Go deeper

Interior to investigate "lasting consequences" of Indian boarding schools

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Interior will launch an investigation into Indian boarding schools, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: In May, the remains of 215 Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation children were found buried at the site at a former residential school in Canada. The discovery has renewed attention on the Americas' history of genocide against Indigenous peoples.

DOJ declines to defend Mo Brooks in Capitol riot lawsuit

Rep. Mo Brooks during a June news conference on Capitol Hill. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Department of Justice declined late Tuesday to represent Rep. Mo Brooks in a civil lawsuit against the Georgia congressman concerning the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Brooks had argued he should have immunity in the suit, filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) against him, former President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and lawyer Rudy Giuliani over the insurrection. He said he was acting as a government employee when he spoke at a rally before the insurrection.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

Team USA's Katie Ledecky celebrates after winning the final of the women's 1,500m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images)

Katie Ledecky took home the Olympic gold medal in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle swimming race Tuesday evening, becoming the first female swimmer to win the newly added division. Team USA's Erica Sullivan won silver.

Of note: The Tokyo Games mark the first time that the long-distance race has been open to women, and Ledecky paid tribute to her predecessors after the race. "I just think of all the great U.S. swimmers who didn’t have a chance to swim that event," she said on NBC.

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